Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Best Ever Berry Cobbler

This recipe is on Wicked Good Kitchen and it lives up to the blog's name! The recipe is for blueberry, but I used a mix of blueberries and raspberries and it worked great. This dish just may or may not be almost completely devoured already at my house. I really like that the "biscuit" topping tastes more like a sugar cookie than a biscuit.
Best Ever Berry Cobbler 
For the Blueberry Filling:
6 c. fresh berries, sorted, rinsed and dried
1 c. sugar
2 t. freshly grated lemon zest
3 T. flour

For the Buttery Biscuit Crumble Topping:
1 c. plus 5 T. flour
6 T. granulated sugar
1½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
6 T. unsalted butter, chilled & cut into bits
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 T. sugar
½ t. ground cinnamon, optional
¼ t. freshly ground nutmeg, optional
Arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly butter 10-inch round quiche plate, pie plate or 2-quart baking dish.

Prepare the Blueberry Filling: Place blueberries into prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest.  Add the flour and whisk until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle mixture evenly over berries in prepared baking dish and toss gently. Make sure the sugar and flour mixture is evenly distributed over the fruit with no mounding in the center or in any one place. This will ensure the sugar will caramelize and the flour will thicken evenly throughout the cobbler with the berry juices. Set aside.

Prepare the Buttery Biscuit Crumble Topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal with small pea-sized pieces of butter. In a small bowl, whisk vanilla into beaten egg using a fork. With a fork, gently toss beaten egg and vanilla into flour mixture until moistened and dough starts to hold together. Continue to toss and blend gently with fingertips until well combined yet taking care not to overwork the dough.

Assemble the Cobbler: Sprinkle biscuit crumble topping evenly over fruit filling. Sprinkle biscuit crumble topping with sugar and, if desired, dust with freshly grated nutmeg. Alternatively, dust with cinnamon-sugar combining sugar and cinnamon before sprinkling over topping. If desired, dust freshly grated nutmeg over cinnamon-sugar.

Bake the Cobbler: Bake in preheated oven until topping is golden brown and filling is cooked through and bubbly, about 40 to 45 minutes. To prevent over-browning of topping, cover with sheet of aluminum foil after 25 minutes of baking. Remove foil and carefully transfer to wire rack to cool.

Serve the Cobbler: Serve cobbler warm a la mode or with fresh whipped cream, if desired.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Need Not Have Any Fear

I was pretty disappointed this week to only get one photo from Alex. BooHoo! I'm really glad to read that he's doing well and keeping busy. Unfortunately, they are still having snow storms here and there. In his letter to me he mentioned, "Time really has been flying. I have been fine, and haven't gotten sick since coming out here, but I don't want to jinx it, because the other two elders (Elder P. and Elder S.) got sick this last week." I do hope the two of them are feeling better already.
Alex and his companion Elder F.

Here's his letter:

I decided to title this weeks email as "need not have any fear" because it is something that has come up as of late. Don't worry, I haven't been wanting to go home or depressed or anything like that. I just have come to realize that as I go through the trials that have here, and anywhere else in my life, I won't need to fear anything if I follow Christ and do as he commands. For He has promised that all who follow Him shall be well off in the end.

The Kanji of the week is: 信仰 which means faith.

And here's the overview of the week:

Monday: Monday was really relaxing and we took full advantage of the "preparation" part of our preparation day by really laying back. In the evening we went over our weekly schedule since Elder F. hadn't known any of it, and also didn't know anything about the area.

Tuesday: As usual we had DCS in the morning (I found out is the Japanese abbreviation for Mission coordination meeting), and then after that we went to Brother Seino's. We made a cross by folding a paper four times and then ripping it. It was pretty cool. From there we went to the city hall to find out about some things they have here, and they sent to to YIRA for one of them. Brother Gessell was at YIRA, and we talked to him for a while. We were back on foot again that day because of a random snow storm, so that was all we were really able to get in for the day.

Wednesday: After a usual morning of personal and companion studies, and language study, we went to a local community center. We found out some information out about a sign language circle, and then went to the very far north of town to visit a Mr. Takahashi. He wasn't home, but as we started to leave we got a call. While I was talking to the Zone leaders on the phone, Mr. Takahashi drove by, so we went back and visited him for a bit.
After that we rode to the train station. I took a turn earlier than I meant to (it would have gotten us there either way), but we were able to run into Brother Goto because of it. We talked to him about what time we would go visit them on Saturday and then left on our way. At the Station, we wanted to find an address of a potential investigator, but we accidentally forgot to write it down, so we decided to go visit some less active members. None of them were home though.
We then quickly planned and set up for english class, and had a regular english class.

Thursday: We had a district meeting in the morning, and that was fun and very spiritual. We went over the material we got to prepare us for how to use the iPads when we get them (we will be getting them next week), and it was very spiritually oriented. After that we took a train up to Akayu, a neighboring town. We tried to find a person from our area book that only had the address, name, and the fact that he/she was deaf, but it ended up that that person didn't live there. We then walked for a while until we got to Sisiter Tase's work to try and meet her. She was really busy, and didn't have time to talk to us, but we stayed there for a while just in case she had a few moments to talk. She didn't, and we had a train to catch, so we left and went back home.
Alex in the back left with the other missionaries in Yonezawa and some guys they played basketball with -- thanks to Elder F. for sending it to his mom and to her for posting it!

Friday: We had a lot of planning to do that day, so we spent the majority of the day inside for that. We then went and tried to visit one of our investigators, Brother Ito. He wasn't home, but we happened to bump into him before we actually got to his house, and we had a good talk with him there. We then tried to talk to a different potential investigator family, but the parents weren't there. Two of the kids answered the door (middle school and younger aged), and talked to them for a few minutes. We then went and knocked on doors for the rest of the night. No one accepted a visit, but they were all super nice to us.

Saturday: In the morning we went over to the sign language circle group. We watched a quick video that showed some signs, and we practiced that for a bit. Then a deaf man came and talked for the rest of the time (I don't think it was planned). It was good though.
We then went to the Goto couple's house and talked to them. We talked about sign language for a bit and then shared a quick message with the paper cross thing I mentioned earlier. From there we went to Sister Taira's house. She was really good as always, and we had a good talk with her. We shared a quick message, and then left back to the apartment.
When we got back to the apartment, we quickly changed into clothes to play basketball in, and then went to the activity center to play basketball with the boys we played with earlier. We had a lot of fun, and apparently I did really well. We then went with them to a restaurant called Tonpachi to eat dinner, and then headed to the apartment to close the day off.

Sunday: We had a pretty normal day yesterday. We had one of our investigators, Sister Wagatsuma come to church, and we also had a visitor from America. She is on homestay in Yonezawa right now, and she is also a member. And 14. She came with her uncle who isn't a member, but they both had a fun time. Her uncle speaks pretty good Japanese. After that we went back to the apartment and finished our planning for the week because we didn't get it all in, and then we went and tried to visit some people in the evening. We didn't get to meet anyone, but we had a good bike ride.

I hope, as always, that you're all doing well, and that the upcoming week is a good one! I love you all, and truly mean it. 
Elder ____
Alex with his former companion Elder O. (I got this from another missionary mom!)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

This recipe was on Hun...Whats for Dinner and I wanted to try it because the photos made it look so cheesy and it was loaded with veggies. It's easy and really good. I grated my carrots very finely and they look almost like cheddar cheese in the photos. 
Cheesy Vegetable Chowder
3 T. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 c. broccoli, cut into small florets
1 1/2 c. cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 c. frozen peas
4 c. chicken stock
1 t. salt
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 c. 35% cream
1 T. corn starch
1 T. water
1 c. Gouda cheese

In a soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Once oil starts to ripple, add in the onion; cooking until onions become translucent. Add in garlic, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower and cook for 2-3 minutes; until garlic becomes fragrant.

Pour in chicken stock, season with salt and pepper, add in the thyme springs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until cauliflower is tender. Remove the thyme sprigs (by this time the leaves should have fallen off into the soup) and add the cream and peas; cook 2 minutes to heat through.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the water. Remove soup from heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. Return soup pot to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens; about 3-5 minutes. Stir in cheese and cook until melted. Serve with additional Gouda, if desired.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pioneer House Restaurant

I'm so excited to share with my readers and those who stumble on my blog (who are welcome to stick around and become my reader) about Mt. Pleasant, Utah's newest and funnest restaurant! My sister Tiffany and her husband Adam have worked very hard to open Pioneer House right on Highway 89, right in front of the fairgrounds and near a city park (and near a cemetery too, if you like that fact like I do). It's opening Friday, March 26th!

If you're from the area, I'm sure you have seen the historic caboose before right next to a beautiful antique shop (stop inside while you're there and check out the unique finds at great prices).

As a disclaimer, I don't live close enough to Mt. Pleasant to go often. I went down last week and took some of these photos, so the signs weren't up and they weren't finished putting tables and chairs where they would be so these photos aren't what it looks like now. I'll have to update this when I get to go back down with it all finished and up and running.

The cabin is the food truck kitchen where you order and pick up your food. The caboose and a deck have tables and chairs for you to sit and enjoy your food.

Right now they have burgers and fries, but their menu will be expanding to gourmet sandwiches and salads soon. (And my daughter Elisa has been begging them to serve smoothies.) They use only fresh ingredients and are committed to delivering quality food to bring customers back again and again.

They're open Monday - Saturday 11 am - 9 pm.
Look at all these options! There are several different sauces to choose from including Pioneer Sauce, which is their special fry sauce. 

Like them on Facebook!

Inside the caboose, but like I said, before they had it all ready. Don't worry the seats aren't just lined up like this with no tables.

Part of the deck next to the historic caboose

My girls playing at the caboose
So, if you are like me and don't live near Mt. Pleasant, let me give you some great excuses to go down (or up) that way while you're there trying the good food.

On Highway 89 in Mount Pleasant you can visit the Pioneer Historical Preservation Association Museum and Relic Home at 130 S. State Street. The historic home that is the museum has pioneer relics and was the home of William Stewart Seely, built around 1861. They say it's the site where the final peace treaty was signed that ended the Black Hawk War between the Mormon settlers and the Native Americans in the area. Also visit the historic blacksmith shop next to this museum home.

In case you don't know, Mt. Pleasant is near the towns of Fairview and Spring City and along the highway down to Manti. So don't forget to stop here along your way to the Manti pageant, but don't wait until then to stop by!

If you only know me through my blog, you may not know that I love (along with my 2 daughters) exploring rural areas and old towns and taking photos and posting them on Instagram. The small towns in this area are all full of buildings from the 1800's and lots of photo ops!

Mt. Pleasant is close to both Uinta-Wasatch-Cache and Manti-LaSal National Forests. So you can stop at Pioneer House to fill up on delicious food before going out to hike, 4 wheel, go horseback riding, biking, or just on a scenic ride. Did you know you can even go snow kiting? Did you know that was a thing?

Spring City (my sister Tiffany's favorite town in the whole world) is listed on the National Historic Register. Yep, the whole town. Seriously, there are so many historic pioneer homes and barns, and lots of art galleries too.

Fairview is just a couple of minutes north of Mt. Pleasant. There you can visit the Fairview Museum of History and Art.  

You can go rock climbing in Maple Canyon or go fishing in Fairview Canyon.

You can visit Skyline Mountain Resort in Fairview Canyon where they rent cabins and have campgrounds, have a pool with a waterslide, a tennis court, golf course, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.
For more than just a day trip, check out all these places to stay in Sanpete.
One of the places that's on my list to go while I'm down there visiting The Pioneer House and eating their juicy burgers, is Palisade State Park. There are cabins and a campground and Palisade Reservoir with lots to do. What I really want to do is rent paddle boats. They rent them for the hour, 1/2 day or full day, but the only prices I could find online was $30 for a full day. They also have kayaks, canoes and more.
Check out this awesome map of Sanpete if you still need help figuring out what to do before and after the awesome experience of eating in a caboose!

Shared this on PinIt Pin Party

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lemon Crumb Muffins

I have loved Taste of Home  magazine for a long time. Real recipes made in real homes. This recipe makes a bunch of muffins! The recipe says it yields 40 muffins and I doubled it to make plenty to share and we had LOTS of muffins to share, which made LOTS of people happy. Soft and lemony.

Lemon Crumb Muffins
6 c. flour
4 c. sugar
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
8 eggs
2 c. (16 oz.) sour cream
2 c. butter, melted
3 T. grated lemon peel
2 T. lemon juice
3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cold butter, cubed
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs, sour cream, butter, lemon peel and juice. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full.                                 
In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over batter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. In a small bowl, whisk glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm muffins. Serve warm.